George Galloway MP v Telegraph Group Ltd: QBD 2 Dec 2004

The claimant MP alleged defamation in articles by the defendant newspaper. They claimed to have found papers in Iraqi government offices after the invasion of Iraq which implicated the claimant. The claimant said the allegations were grossly defamatory and untrue. The defendants said that the articles were protected by qualified privilege, since the claimant was a public figure.
Held: The articles were defamatory and an award of andpound;150,000 was made. Context is often crucial in libel proceedings, and associated articles could be used to help discern meanings. ‘ . . here the Defendants were not neutral. They did not merely adopt the allegations. They embraced them with relish and fervour. They then went on to embellish them . .’ The Reynolds defence was not available. The notion of ‘exposure’ plainly connotes, that wrongdoing has taken place. The leaders were defamatory of Mr Galloway and that their ‘sting’ was factual rather than comment. ‘It is the difference between tentative comment and a rush to judgment. ‘ Where a shere it was agreed that it would be the judge who would rule on whether a defendant had a duty to make a report of the allegations, the advice of a jury as to the alleged meanings would not be of assistance.


Eady J


[2004] EWHC 2786 (QB), Times 13-Jan-2005, [2005] EMLR 7




England and Wales


CitedJameel, Abdul Latif Jameel Company Limited v The Wall Street Journal Europe SPRL QBD 20-Jan-2004
It is almost inevitable that in a Reynolds privilege case to be tried by jury there will be presented to them a list of questions, sometimes no doubt formidably long. The object is to enable the judge to have the factual matrix upon which to make . .
CitedReynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd and others HL 28-Oct-1999
Fair Coment on Political Activities
The defendant newspaper had published articles wrongly accusing the claimant, the former Prime Minister of Ireland of duplicity. The paper now appealed, saying that it should have had available to it a defence of qualified privilege because of the . .
CitedLingens v Austria ECHR 8-Jul-1986
Freedom of expression, as secured in paragraph 1 of Article 10, constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and one of the basic conditions for its progress and for each individual’s self-fulfilment. Subject to paragraph 2, . .
CitedBonnick v Morris, The Gleaner Company Ltd and Allen PC 17-Jun-2002
(Jamaica) The appellant sought damages from the respondent journalists in defamation. They had claimed qualified privilege. The words alleged to be defamatory were ambiguous.
Held: The publishers were protected by Reynolds privilege. The court . .
CitedChase v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 29-May-2002
A libel defence of justification which was based on ‘reasonable grounds for suspicion’ must focus on conduct of claimant that gives rise to suspicion. It was not permissible to rely upon hearsay. Defendant may not plead as ‘grounds’ material which . .
CitedCharleston and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another HL 31-Mar-1995
The plaintiffs were actors playing Harold and Madge Bishop in the Australian soap series ‘Neighbours’. They sued on a tabloid newspaper article which showed their faces superimposed on the near-naked bodies of models apparently engaged in sexual . .
CitedAl-Fagih v H H Saudi Research and Marketing (UK) Ltd CA 1-Nov-2001
The media’s right to freedom of expression, particularly in the field of political discussion ‘is of a higher order’ than ‘the right of an individual to his good reputation.’ The majority upheld an appeal against a trial judge’s ruling that the . .
CitedLoutchansky v The Times Newspapers Ltd and Others (Nos 2 to 5) CA 5-Dec-2001
Two actions for defamation were brought by the claimant against the defendant. The publication reported in detail allegations made against the claimant of criminal activities including money-laundering on a vast scale. They admitted the defamatory . .
CitedBranson v Bower (No 1) CA 24-May-2001
The test of whether comment was fair comment is simply that of whether the opinion was honestly expressed, and on the basis of facts accurately stated. There is no special rule for imputations of corruption or dishonest motives. Nor is there any . .
CitedThorgeir Thorgeirson v Iceland ECHR 25-Jun-1992
Two newspaper articles reported widespread rumours of brutality by the Reykjavik police. These rumours had some substantiation in fact, a policeman had been convicted recently. The purpose of the articles was to promote an investigation by an . .
CitedSelisto v Finland ECHR 1-Oct-2004
The applicant wrote articles for a newspaper alleging unprofessional behaviour in an anonymous surgeon, leading to the death of a hospital patient three years earlier. The prosecutor had concluded that there was no evidence of a crime. There was . .
CitedThoma v Luxembourg ECHR 29-Mar-2001
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 10; Pecuniary damage – financial award; Non-pecuniary damage – finding of violation sufficient; Costs and expenses partial award
The Court was . .
CitedAffaire Radio France et autres v France ECHR 30-Mar-2004
A person’s right to protect his/her reputation is among the rights guaranteed by ECHR Article 8 as an element of the right to respect for private life. . .
CitedBladet Tromso and Stensaas v Norway ECHR 20-May-1999
A newspaper and its editor complained that their right to freedom of expression had been breached when they were found liable in defamation proceedings for statements in articles which they had published about the methods used by seal hunters in the . .
CitedPrager And Oberschlick v Austria ECHR 26-Apr-1995
Article 10 requires that journalists be permitted a good deal of latitude in how they present their material and that a degree of exaggeration must also be accepted. The media have a special place in any democratic society as purveyor of information . .
CitedGreene v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 5-Nov-2004
The claimant appealed against refusal of an order restraining publication by the respondent of an article about her. She said that it was based upon an email falsely attributed to her.
Held: ‘in an action for defamation a court will not impose . .
CitedCook v Alexander CA 1974
One may comment upon reports which are themselves the subject of privilege. A report to be fair and accurate must constitute a fair presentation of that which took place on the relevant occasion. It need not be a verbatim report. It can be selective . .
CitedBrent Walker Group plc v Time Out Limited CA 1991
The defendant published two articles with comment adverse to W. The plaintiff complained that this associated him and his company with violent organised crime. The defence to the defamation action said the words complained of were fair comment, and . .
CitedCassell and Co Ltd v Broome and Another HL 23-Feb-1972
Exemplary Damages Award in Defamation
The plaintiff had been awarded damages for defamation. The defendants pleaded justification. Before the trial the plaintiff gave notice that he wanted additional, exemplary, damages. The trial judge said that such a claim had to have been pleaded. . .
CitedHeil v Rankin, Rees v Mabco (102) Ltd, Schofield v Saunders and Taylor Ltd and Other cases CA 23-Mar-2000
The Law Commission had recommended that the general level of damages awarded for pain suffering and loss of amenity in personal injury cases should be raised. The Court now considered several cases on the issue.
Held: The court would do so. . .
CitedJohn v MGN Ltd CA 12-Dec-1995
Defamation – Large Damages Awards
MGN appealed as to the level of damages awarded against it namely pounds 350,000 damages, comprising pounds 75,000 compensatory damages and pounds 275,000 exemplary damages. The newspaper contended that as a matter of principle there is no scope in . .
CitedGleaner Company Ltd and Another v Abrahams PC 14-Jul-2003
Punitive Defamation Damages Order Sustained
(Jamaica) The appellants challenged a substantial award of damages for defamation. They had wrongfully accused a government minister of corruption. There was evidence of substantial financial loss. ‘For nearly sixteen years the defendants, with all . .
CitedTolstoy Miloslavsky v United Kingdom ECHR 19-Jul-1995
The applicant had been required to pay andpound;124,900 as security for the respondent’s costs as a condition of his appeal against an award of damages in a defamation case.
Held: It followed from established case law that article 6(1) did not . .
CitedLillie and Reed v Newcastle City Council, Barker, Jones, Saradjian, Wardell QBD 30-Jul-2002
The applicants sought judicial review of a report prepared for the respondent. They had been accused of child abuse whilst working as nursery assistants.
Held: The report was fundamentally flawed, and almost deliberately designed to . .

Cited by:

CitedJameel and Another v Wall Street Journal Europe Sprl (No 2) CA 3-Feb-2005
The claimant sought damages for an article published by the defendant, who argued that as a corporation, the claimant corporation needed to show special damage, and also that the publication had qualified privilege.
Held: ‘It is an established . .
Appeal fromGeorge Galloway MP v The Telegraph Group Ltd CA 25-Jan-2006
The defendant appealed agaiunst a finding that it had defamed the claimant by repeating the contents of papers found after the invasion of Iraq which made claims against the claimant. The paper had not sought to justify the claims, relying on . .
CitedCharman v Orion Publishing Group Ltd and others QBD 13-Jul-2006
The claimant police officer sought damages from the defendants who had published a book alleging that he had been corrupt. The defendants claimed privilege under Reynolds and the 1996 Act.
Held: The defence of qualified privilege failed. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 27 June 2022; Ref: scu.219936